Breathe! You Are Alive

My first smoothie in a bowl, a la KERF

I have this nasty little habit of fearing the future so much that I miss the present completely. Yesterday I felt like my life was completely spiraling out of control again–too much school, too much work, too little money, etc. The problems never change, but my attitude could. So last night I dreamt that I was on a sinking cruise ship. This is not the first time this year that I’ve dreamt of drowning. It’s a very literal visual manifestation of my internal feelings of struggling to keep my head above water.

I am hard on myself. Very. I don’t ever think I’m doing all that I am capable of. One of my favorite things about this blog and my journey with food over the past 2.5 years is that I’ve really come to love my body and to not beat myself up over appearance. I used to say cruel, terrible things to myself that I would never say to another human being. That’s been over for a while now. Sadly, it’s almost as if my negative self talk has shifted from outward appearance to inner self. I find myself constantly critiquing the decisions I’ve made, the direction I’m moving in, everything. I spend so much time analyzing the past or trying to predict the future, that the present moment is completely lost on me.

At times like this, I find it easy to pull myself back to reality but difficult to do so indefinitely. My life is so incredibly easy compared to the lives of many others. This I know all too well at a very personal level. I also find it helpful to read books that inspire me to pay attention right now–not yesterday, not tomorrow… now. Last year I was supposed to complete my yoga teacher training, but my decision to move away to return to school put an end to that before it started. I had already purchased all of my books for the training though, so I’ve been reading them anyway.

One is Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace is Every Step. I wanted to share some things he says on the very first page:

Every morning when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand new hours to live. What a precious gift!

We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment.

Breathe! You are alive!

All this to say, I’m facing my day with a different attitude today. I am busy, but I can handle it. I am overwhelmed, but this is what I wanted. I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow or next week or next year, but right now is pretty great.

This morning I started my day acknowledging it as 24 brand new hours to live and also by smiling (although forced) as Nhat Hanh suggests doing at the start of each day. I ate my very first smoothie in a bowl (a la Kath), and I sampled a new granola sent to me by the wonderful Love Grown Foods.

Love Grown granola

But their review will come at another time when I’m feeling far less dramatic.

Happy Thursday, blog world. Go get your 24 brand new hours to live…

7 thoughts on “Breathe! You Are Alive

  1. Thich Nhat Hanh is SO right. The other night after a yoga class, my instructor asked me if I had a hard time relaxing during Savasana. The truth was that I couldn’t relax because I couldn’t stop thinking about everything I had to do after class instead of just living in the moment. Our bodies are present but our minds are constantly in the future!

  2. Even before I got to the quote you referenced in your post, I was thinking I will respond “24 hours” and it worked! Lighten up, sister or someone will call you Mike. hahaha

  3. I just bought “Peace is Every Step” yesterday…what a happy coincidence! Your post makes me even more excited to read it. Thich Nhat Hanh has this amazing ability to transform the complex/confusing into the simple. Simply be happy, smile, and breathe…it doesn’t get any easier than that :)

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